The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on a new code of practice for letting agents and a compulsory requirement for agents to undertake training before they can register.
Additionally, landlords and agents in Wales are preparing for mandatory training and registration. Although an exact date has not been specified, enforcement of the Rent Smart Wales scheme is due for this autumn.
In England, the Housing Minister, Brandon Lewis, has insisted that the lettings industry will not be regulated, despite concerns surrounding the sector. Recently, a franchise of Enfields suddenly closed, leaving tenants and landlords worried about the consequences. Find out more: /police-called-to-investigate-agency-that-suddenly-closed/
Landlords and Letting Agents in Scotland and Wales Prepare for Licensing
The Housing (Scotland) Act provides an outline of the regulation of letting agents in Scotland. It includes:
- A mandatory register of letting agents, including a fit and property person test.
- Required training before admission to the register.
- A statutory code of practice for all letting agents.
- A system for tenants and landlords to resolve disputes with letting agents for breaches of the code of practice, via a new specialist First-tier Tribunal.
- Powers for Scottish ministers to obtain information, monitor compliance and enforce regulatory requirements.
Scottish Housing Minister, Margaret Burgess, says: “The Scottish Government wants to see a private rented sector that provides good quality homes and high management standards, inspires consumer confidence and encourages growth.
“Letting agents are vital to helping achieve this vision, and this new framework, including the code of practice, will support the industry to improve standards, provide a good service to both landlords and tenants and empower customers.”1
The Scottish consultation, which closes on 15th November, can be found here: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/better-homes-division/lettingagentconsultation
In Wales, the new registration and licensing scheme, Rent Smart Wales, will be introduced this autumn. It involves:
- The legal requirement for all private landlords to register with Rent Smart Wales and to register their properties.
- Whoever manages the properties – the landlord or appointed agent – must be licensed and show that they are fit and proper to hold a license and undergo approved training.
- Once part of the scheme, landlords and agents must keep their information up-to-date and comply with all requirements.